☞ UK Copyright Reform: Good News Or Corporate Attack?

  • “The founders of Google have said they could never have started their company in Britain. … Over there [in the US], they have what are called ‘fair-use’ provisions, which some people believe gives companies more breathing space to create new products and services. So I can announce today that we are reviewing our IP laws, to see if we can make them fit for the internet age. I want to encourage the sort of creative innovation that exists in America.”

    If this actually leads to liberty-enhancing changes to the UK’s laws, them I’m delighted. But the track record of this government so far has been to announce good things and then actually do bad things – LibDem spin shamelessly disguising old-fashioned Tory policies.

    I greatly fear this moment being seized by corporate interests to introduce draconian enforcement measures and easier patenting to “balance” the introduction of fair-use provisions. Those provisions sound more like “safe harbour” than “fair use” anyway and are framed suspiciously as if they are only to benefit business and not citizens. We need to watch this like hawks.

Also:

  • Interesting article (and discussion below it) explores whether there is a way to do an apples-to-oranges comparison of open source and proprietary software. Pretty raw, plenty to argue with, but interesting all the same.
  • “Android has gone through versions 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2, with version 2.3 expected some time in the fourth quarter of the year, version 3.0 expected in early 2011, and version 4.0 rumored to ready some time around the middle of 2011.Making the equivalent changes to Windows could take close to a decade. Working that slowly simply doesn’t work anymore; technology and the world change too fast. “

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One Response

  1. It took me a couple of reads to understand that first one properly – the “over there” is the UK talking about the US, not the Google founders saying they’d struggle in the UK!

    I thought we had some kind of “fair use” anyway (copying “substantial” components, or something), but perhaps it isn’t as absolutely defined as in the US.

    That said, it all sounds promising until his last sentence – if we’re going to base our copyright on America, then does that mean that BPI will become even more like the RIAA, we’ll get baseless takedowns under some kind of DMCA, and generally have companies run our copyright to whatever provides advantage to them?

    Changing for the Internet era – good. Basing that change on the USA – almost certainly bad.

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